Efforts by Bamburi Cement Company to offer scholarships to needy students in Kwale County helped to realize the 100 percent transition to secondary schools in the county.
Through its Corporate Social Responsibility programme, Bamburi Cement awarded twenty needy students scholarships worth Sh1 .1 million.
The students who were stranded at their respective homes after failing to raise school fees to further their education, could not believe it when Bamburi Cement Company offered them a full scholarship.
Bamburi Cement’s Chief Executive Officer, Sadiq Hassan, said the students were picked from a rigorous process based on their academic performance.
“The students who originate from Mwachome and Denyenye areas, were identified through an academic talent identification programme that assures transparency and equity,” he said.
The CEO said the levels of poverty not just in those areas but in the coastal region at large is alarming and needs timely interventions to enable smooth transition of students to secondary schools.
He added that the scholarship programme would go a long way in addressing the poor educational standards in the region.
While emphasizing the importance of academic excellence, Hassan said “By investing in local human capital, Bamburi Cement is investing in the future of Kwale County.”
He said the Bamburi Cement scholarship initiative stems from the desire to give back to the communities that formed an integral part of their operations.
He said the initiative is designed to improve literacy levels within the community, instill a sense of civic responsibility and provide learning opportunities to academic gifted students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
On his part, Matuga Sub County Deputy County Commissioner, Alexander Mativo, confirmed that indeed the area has witnessed a high number of students being unable to transit to secondary schools due to high poverty levels.
Mativo decried poverty, teenage pregnancies, early marriages and other retrogressive cultural practices for the sorry state of educational affairs in the region.
The administrator lauded the cement company for the scholarship programme saying it was a worthy cause and called on other companies to come up with such initiatives geared towards uplifting the living standards of local communities.
Mativo said the push for a 100 per cent transition would in the long run ensure the country attains high literacy rate and a more educated workforce.
“There is a need for companies to empower less fortunate members of the society especially in their areas of operation as most of the students come from humble backgrounds and any assistance would be highly appreciated,” he said.
Bamburi Cement has a green light from the government to carry out mining of shale along Matuga Sub County.
Addressing the same function, the Director of Early Education Development, Abdallah Bilashaka, said all parties and the communities were well aware of the mining projects which were set to begin anytime soon adding that there was nothing to worry about.
Tsimba/Golini ward Member of County Assembly, Swaleh Simba, said they were happy that Bamburi Cement agreed to undertake quarry rehabilitation as well as offer job opportunities to the locals.
“Businesses are set to flourish in the areas to be mined once Bamburi Cement starts its mining activities,” he said.
One of the beneficiaries, Mwalaini Mwachala, who is the seventh born in a family of nine children, said only two of his siblings have gone through primary school and were it not for the scholarship programme, he would have been forced to drop out.
“The award has given me the confidence to maintain high grades and pursue my dream of becoming an engineer,” he said.
By Hussein Abdullahi